UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany

Foreign tourists traveling to Germany often skip over Frankfurt and Cologne in favor of the more famous Berlin and Bavaria, but this region has many sites to offer visitors. If you have visiting UNESCO sites around the world as part of your bucket list, in the area surrounding Frankfurt and Cologne, there are ten sites that UNESCO has added to their World Heritage Site list, which means that these sites have special cultural or physical significance that they want to preserve.

Here are ten UNESCO World Heritage sites in Germany near the cities of Frankfurt and Cologne.

1. Cologne Cathedral
This masterpiece of Gothic architecture is famous for being the most visited landmark in German with an average of 20,000 visitors a day. It is now the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne. Workers began building it in 1248, but there were long stops in construction, so it wasn’t actually finished till 1880, meaning it took seven centuries to build this cathedral.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany-germany-cologne-177711198

2. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Bruhl
The castle of Augustusburg and the smaller palace of Falkenlust were built in the 18th century and are fantastic examples of early Rococo architecture. Between the two buildings are the lovely gardens of the Schlosspark. Augustusburg was the home of members of the ruling Wittelsbach family. Falkenlust was designed in the style of a hunting lodge with a marine grotto in the chapel.


3. Lorsch Abbey
The abbey was founded all the way back in 764. It is one of the rare buildings to have survived from the medieval Carolingian era, although over the centuries much of the abbey has fallen into ruin through fire or war. From this abbey came the Lorscher Codex, which is one of the most important documents of early Germany medieval history.


4. Messel Pit Fossil Site
The pit began as a mining quarry and also became a landfill before UNESCO and other stepped in. This is the only UNESCO site on the list exclusively for fossils. The pit is the best fossil site for understanding the Palaeogene period, during which the first modern mammals emerged. Fossils found here are remarkably well preserved, with full skeletons and sometimes even fur and stomach contents.

5. Maulbronn Monastery Complex
This monastery, founded in 1147, is the best preserved Cistercian monastery complex in Europe. Its architecture is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic and the monastery’s look majorly helped the spread of Gothic architecture. It has a remarkably innovative and elaborate water management system for the time with a network of drains, reservoirs, and irrigation channels.


6. Speyer Cathedral
Founded in 1030, the Speyer Cathedral is considered one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture from the time when Europe was ruled by the Holy Roman Empire. For 300 years, German emperors were buried here. The cathedral features a basilica with four towers and two domes. It was made to compete with the Abbey of Cluny, which has now been destroyed.


7. Wurzburg Residenz Palace and Gardens
This palace was built in the 1700s for a pair of German brothers, who were the prince-bishops of Wurzburg. The magnificent Baroque palace was bombed during World War II and nearly all of the insides were destroyed. Between 1945 and 1987, the building’s interiors were reconstructed to the tune of 20 million euros.

Wurzburg Residenz

8. Bamberg Old Town
The town was built on seven hills and became an important link to the Slav peoples. Henry II, the King of Bavaria starting in 1007, intended for the town to be a second Rome and tried to make it a center of power. The old town is made of three sections, which are the island town, the market gardener’s town, and the episcopal town.


9. Aachen Cathedral
Charlemagne ordered the start of construction on this cathedral in 796 and later was buried here. Its chapel has a Carolingian octagonal basilica that was later added onto during the Middle Ages with Gothic additions. Its treasury has come of the most important religious artifacts in Europe.


10. Germany’s Ancient Beech Forest
This forest is a rare example of an unspoiled beech forest that represents the ongoing development of ecosystems without human involvement. Due to its inaccessibility and later its protected status, the forest remains almost entirely untouched by humans.



Europe Winter Travel Ideas

481670475Winter takes many forms in Europe. In areas such as Finland there is some serious cold weather and of course, snow! Many of the other countries in Europe do experience small amounts of snow with a little bit of sunshine as well. In general the winter months are a delightful time to do some traveling to Europe. Since it’s the off-season, accommodations and airfare are pretty affordable. You will also deal with less crowds and will get to experience some of the country’s winter traditions. Here are just a few Europe Winter travel ideas.

Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy are great places to go skiing in the winter. Other good places for skiing are the Rhone-Alps France, Levi & Lapland, Finland, Upper Bavaria Germany and Vasterbotten Country, Sweden.

Frankfurt Market- Birmingham, England
The Frankfurt Market is a true German market. It’s located in Victoria Square and is open November 22-December 22 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. There’s a lot to see at the market with close to 200 different stalls. It can easily take an entire weekend to really see everything. Not only are there handmade crafts and gifts to purchase there is also German and English beer as well as carolers singing Christmas songs in order to get you into the holiday spirit.

tivolia-gardens-denmark-winter-476011565Tivoli Gardens- Copenhagen, Denmark
One of the best German Christmas markets in the world is located in Denmark. Tivloli Gardens in Copenhagen runs from November 15 through December 31 and is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Not only are there numerous opportunities to purchase both Russian and Nordic inspired items, there’s also the Tivoli Gardens Fun Fair. It features rides, games and music. This Christmas market also has some of the most delicious food in the area including a donut called Aebleskiver that is served with a hot raisin and almond flavored wine.

Arctic Circle Grotto- Rovaniemi, Finland
Many individuals that believe in Santa say that Article Circle Grotto is Mr. Claus’ official residence. Although, chances are that you won’t see the bearded man if you visit the area, you will see many people dressed like him. There’s no shortage of snow, reindeer and Christmas activities in Artic Circle Grotto.

Christmas Market- Strasbourg, France
France is absolutely beautiful in the winter and their Christmas markets won’t disappoint. The Christmas market located in Strasbourg, France has been dubbed as the “Capital of Christmas”. The market first opened in the 1500s and travelers from near and far come to visit it from November 29-December 31. One of the favorite things to view is Europe’s largest natural Christmas tree which is located in the town square.

Christmas City- Gothenburg, Sweden
Christmas City in Gothenburg isn’t really a city, but it should be. This massive Christmas market is located in Liseberg Amusement Park from November 15 through December 23. It consists of almost five million Christmas lights and some of the area’s best Christmas delicacies which include rich chocolates and smoked sausage. If you want to get some of your Christmas shopping done you can find anything from crafts to holiday decorations.

If you’ve never visited a Christmas market or experienced some of Europe’s winter traditions there’s no time like the present to start planning a winter vacation that you will remember. Since the winter months are considered to be the off season in Europe you can get some great travel deals. Cheap airfare, beautiful Christmas decorations and fewer crowds would make a vacation to Europe in the winter a phenomenal family trip.


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